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The Next-Generation Drivetrain for the Proterra ZX5 Electric Bus

As the Proterra team continues to innovate and improve on our product offerings, we are excited to introduce ProDrive 2.0, the next-generation base drivetrain for the Proterra ZX5 battery-electric bus. The ProDrive 2.0 drivetrain gives the ZX5 faster acceleration, stronger hill climb, smoother and faster shifting, and greater efficiency for longer range. These improvements in vehicle performance enable the ZX5 to provide a better driving experience for vehicle operators and a better experience for passengers.

ProDrive 2.0 features a purpose-built, four-speed EV transmission from Eaton with electric shifting, upgraded from the two-speed gearbox with pneumatic shifting in ProDrive 1.0. The Proterra ZX5 electric bus can climb steeper hills with ProDrive 2.0, boasting a maximum launch grade of 27.9%, a significant improvement over the previous max launch grade of 21.6%.

Drivetrains Product 3 Prodrive 2.0 Square 4 8 22
The ProDrive 2.0 drivetrain gives the ZX5 faster acceleration, stronger hill climb, smoother and faster shifting, and greater efficiency for longer range.

Proterra’s new generation drivetrain not only enables the ZX5 electric bus to climb steeper hills, it also allows the ZX5 to power up hills at a faster speed. ProDrive 2.0 means the ZX5 can drive up a 5% grade at 45.7 miles per hour, which is 13% faster than with the first generation ProDrive. In addition, the new drivetrain provides faster high-speed acceleration capabilities for the ZX5.

By using energy more efficiently with a multispeed gearbox, ProDrive 2.0 also provides overall vehicle efficiency benefits to extend the drive range of the Proterra ZX5 electric bus.

“Not only does ProDrive 2.0 bring the base model of the ZX5 electric bus to a new level of vehicle performance with substantial improvements to acceleration and gradability, it also enables the Proterra ZX5 vehicle to cover even more routes with longer range,” said Rick Huibregtse, Senior VP of Engineering at Proterra.

ProDrive 2.0 is the standard base option for Proterra ZX5 electric buses and is now available for all 40-ft and 35-ft models of the ZX5. While ProDrive 2.0 contains a single motor, Proterra continues to offer an additional drivetrain option for the ZX5 – the DuoPower drivetrain – an eAxle with two electric motors and 550 hp, ideal for the most demanding routes and conditions. The DuoPower drivetrain gives the ZX5 greater horsepower, even faster high-speed performance on steep hills, and increased efficiency for longer range.

All Proterra drivetrains have electric motors with significantly fewer moving parts than combustion engines, providing the added benefit of simplified maintenance for reduced operating costs. The ProDrive and DuoPower drivetrains both enable regenerative braking to make the most efficient use of energy and extend vehicle range, while reducing brake system wear and costs.

“The introduction of ProDrive 2.0 is an important step in our mission to advance EV technology to deliver the world’s best performing commercial vehicles. As we continue to iterate on our technology, bringing this new drivetrain to the market will help transit agencies, airports, universities, and commercial fleet operators meet their zero-emission transportation goals without compromising on vehicle performance,” said John Walsh, Chief Commercial Officer at Proterra.